Beyond the Sandcastle: 20 Great Ways to Use a Beach Bucket


Besides making sand castles and carrying water, beach buckets are also handy to have on hand for many other purposes. They are cheap and plentiful, especially during the summer months. Check out dollar stores, warehouse stores, beach shops, pharmacies, big box stores, craft stores, or supermarkets for affordable options, and start exploring the many alternative ways to put an inexpensive plastic pail to good use. (See also: 30 Uses for the Humble Cardboard Box)

1. Beer Bucket

Find an extra large beach bucket for this task, and the sturdier, the better. Fill it with ice and use as an ice bucket, or place a few bottles or cans inside to make your own mini cooler.

2. Cleaning Supply Storage

A regular sized beach bucket is a great container to store lightweight sponges, dusters, or microfiber cloths in one place. Use the bucket's handle to hang it on a hook in a laundry room or closet to free up valuable floor or shelf space.

3. Beach Bucket Cakes

A very cute and affordable idea for a beach-themed party or summer gathering is a beach bucket cake. It basically works by filling small, clean beach buckets with layers of cake, frosting, and graham cracker crumbs, which serve as fake sand. Insert a little flag or a chocolate shell for a beachy finishing touch.

4. Art Supply Organizer

Try a series of buckets to hold crayons, markers, paints, or brushes in a well-organized way. Using multiple buckets dedicated to each type of art supply will make it easier to find that one colored marker or paint tube that always gets lost in the shuffle.

5. Bucket Centerpiece

This is great for a beach-themed party or buffet when you want to add a playful touch. Choose a nice looking beach bucket to hold flowers or a potted plant in the middle of a table. Alternatively, you can fill a bucket with sand and shells and add a small candle to use as a centerpiece outdoors. Depending on the candle, your centerpiece can also keep the bugs away.

6. Tub Toys

Young kids love to play in the tub, and a beach bucket makes a great multipurpose tub toy. My daughter’s beach bucket does triple duty. First, it stores her smaller tub toys and sits on the side of the tub. Second, it's a toy itself during bath time. And third, Mommy uses it to clean the tub after a bath.

7. Garden Supply Organizer

Keep all the hand tools for the garden in one easy-to-find and carry beach bucket. Not only will it keep small shears, trowels, and spades in place during your regular gardening and planting tasks, but it also can be easily carried around the yard by its handle.

8. Craft Storage

Beach buckets work great to collect scrap fabric, paper, ribbons, yarn, buttons, and other craft trimmings you want easy access to and need to keep organized. Crafty types might even decorate their craft storage buckets with the ribbon and glitter they store!

9. Halloween Trick-or-Treat Tote

Use an orange bucket or decorate any color beach bucket to make a nice trick-or-treat tote for a costumed kid to carry door-to-door. You can also decorate one and use it yourself to dish out the goodies when your doorbell rings menacingly.

10. Serveware

Another great beach-themed party idea is to use beach buckets and matching shovels to serve chips, pretzels, popcorn, and other snacks. Or, use small buckets to hold ice cream toppings for a make-your-own ice cream bar.

11. Hair Accessory Storage

Use a beach bucket to keep brushes and hair ties in one place on a bathroom counter. A small, brightly colored bucket looks great in a kid’s bathroom, is easy to clean, and is shatterproof when it inevitably gets knocked over by little hands.

12. Party Favors

Great for birthday parties, regardless of the season, small beach buckets filled with toys, stickers, or candy are excellent party favors. Or, for baby or wedding showers, use the buckets to hold packs of flower seeds and other little mementos.

13. Snow Toys

They work great on the beach with sand, but don’t rule out the possibility of beach buckets in the snow. Use them to hold snowballs for the next great snowball fight or to build little mounds and forts when the snow is heavy and wet.

14. Creative Picnicware

A unique serving idea for a casual barbecue or picnic is to use beach buckets lined with wax paper to hold fried chicken and fries (or whatever you like). It allows you to skip the plate and use your hands to dig in and enjoy eating something in a fun way. Beach buckets are also great for crab feasts and corn on the cob.

15. Dog Toy Storage

Use the biggest buckets to stow rawhides and other chew toys for your dogs in one place. Beach buckets are a cinch to clean, too. Dried dog slobber rinses right off.

16. Bon Voyage Gift

If you know someone going on a beach trip, beach honeymoon, or other fun journey, a beach bucket  filled with some goodies makes a clever and inexpensive gift. Include snacks, sunscreen, cheap sunglasses, and other small beach items.

17. Utensil Caddy

If you are having an outdoor gathering or a dinner on your back patio, use a beach bucket to hold your utensils and add a fun touch to a casual meal. It’s also great for holding paper napkins outdoors to prevent them from blowing away.

18. Toy Storage

If your kids have toys that come in very small pieces or who have small collectibles, then a beach bucket is the perfect storage container. A kid can grab the handle and carry the bucket from room to room. This hopefully makes cleaning up easier and eliminates those small, easily forgotten pieces from falling to the bottom of another, larger storage container.

19. Garden and Harvest Basket

If you pick flowers or vegetables from your own garden or go berry picking at a farm, you definitely need a portable container to collect your bounty. A beach bucket is lightweight, easy to carry, and holds plenty. Plus it’s easy to clean, and it’s cheap enough that you won’t mind getting it dirty.

20. Washing the Car

There’s no need to invest in an over-priced bucket for car washing duty when a large beach bucket can get the job done. Fill your bucket with water and use it to soak and wring your sponges out as you soap up the car.

What's your favorite fun way to use a beach bucket or pail?

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Guest's picture

What a great article! Such cute ideas.

Guest's picture

Fun list but you missed my favorite - stroller storage
Unhook the handle and snap it through the stroller handle - because of the way it swings and absorbs the motion and bumps it is great for things like an open drink - and holds all sort of other treasure - plus easy to unsnap and rinse out or remove if not needed

Mikey Rox's picture

What about a Jell-O mold? Can I do that?

Kelly Medeiros's picture

That's a good one too. I bet it can be done. A Jell-O castle would be pretty awesome at the table. I'll have to try it!

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